Skip to main content

Gallery: Drawings of a Mathematical Savant

Illustration of pi

Illustration of pi

(Image credit: Courtesy of Jason Padgett)

Jason Padgett suffered an attack that gave him extraordinary mathematical abilities, a case of acquired savant syndrome. He created these drawings of how he sees reality. "I drew circles out of 180 triangles, then 360, then 720. With a finer pencil, he could draw even more. Through this process, I came to understand how pi is calculated by measuring the area of a circle."

[Read full story]

Hawking radiation

Illustration of Hawking radiation

(Image credit: Courtesy of Jason Padgett)

"This is the image I see in my mind's when I think of Hawking radiation and the way radiation is emitted from micro black hole. It's my most difficult drawing to date — it took me nine months to complete."

[Read full story]

Quantum hand

Illustration of quantum hand

(Image credit: Credit: Courtesy of Jason Padgett)

"I see this image in my mind's eye, now in 3-D, every time imagine how my hand moves through space-time."

[Read full story]

Double-slit experiment

Illustration of Double-Slit Experiment

(Image credit: Courtesy of Jason Padgett)

"When I look at waves of water interfering with one another, I see overlapping iterations of my pi image. This drawing was also inspired by the double-slit experiment, which reveals the interactions of light waves."

[Read full story]

Water in drain

Illustration of Water in Drain

(Image credit: Courtesy of Jason Padgett)

"This is the pattern of lines I see overlaid on water going down the drain in the shower or the sink."

[Read full story]

Quantum star

Illustration of quantum star

(Image credit: Courtesy of Jason Padgett)

"After I began to practice meditation, the two-dimensional images I saw in my head became three-dimensional. 'Quantum Star' was my first drawing inspired by this new shift in perception."

[Read full story]

Illustration of pi (180)

Illustration of pi

(Image credit: Courtesy of Jason Padgett)

Circle drawn from 180 triangles.

[Read full story]

Illustration of pi (360)

Illustration of pi

(Image credit: Courtesy of Jason Padgett)

Circle drawn from 360 triangles.

[Read full story]

Tanya Lewis
Tanya was a staff writer for Live Science from 2013 to 2015, covering a wide array of topics, ranging from neuroscience to robotics to strange/cute animals. She received a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Brown University. She has previously written for Science News, Wired, The Santa Cruz Sentinel, the radio show Big Picture Science and other places. Tanya has lived on a tropical island, witnessed volcanic eruptions and flown in zero gravity (without losing her lunch!). To find out what her latest project is, you can visit her website.